HomePosts Tagged "Hollywood"

Hollywood Tag

PrintTo Hollywood’s credit, there’ve been a lot of female-focused thriller/horror films coming out lately. It’s almost as if production studios in La-La Land have suddenly realized there’s a feminine demographic they could cater to/exploit. Unfortunately for the ladies, studios still think that they can just throw anything at audiences and get away with it, which is why so many of the recent “girl power”-type films have been lousy.

The new horror/comedy Jennifer’s Body, written by Diablo Cody (instantly famous for penning the brilliant Juno) and directed by Karyn Kusama (AEon Flux and Girlfight, the latter of which bestowed upon the world the dubious gift of Michelle Rodriguez) is without a doubt the best of the bunch to come along thus far, although given its surprisingly uneven narrative, that’s not saying much.

First off, for those of you who are wondering: yes, Kusama kept in the scene where the two leads Jennifer (Megan Fox) and her oddly named best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) share a “controversial” lesbian kiss. It’s in close-up, it’s almost two minutes long, and for those who are attracted to such, it’s a very satisfying scene. Not since Susan Sarandon got it on with Catherine Deneuve in 1983’s The Hunger have two women looked so good together. Sorry to spoil it for you though, Fox and Seyfried only almost end up in bed together.

85272569We have now reached the last of a three part series concerning the three taboos of cinema. Thus far we have discussed the use of profanity and violence, leaving us left with only one subject to discuss, and the most mystifying topic of them all.

The outrage over sex in film that is displayed in many circles seems quite ridiculous when viewed with a logical mind. Sex is the very beginning of life, an event from which we all sprang forth. Likewise, it is something we all naturally crave and seek out, even those who repress it. Why then are we all so afraid of it?

Recently, there was a fascinating news story that sheds some light on this sociological puzzle. Chilean fashion designer Ricardo Oyarzun put on a show that included models dressed as the Virgin Mary, many with ample cleavage. Naturally, this sparked outrage from religious groups. Chile’s Episcopal Conference claimed that the fashion show would encourage people to view the Virgin as an “object of consumption.”

As usual, this story can be viewed logically from both sides. A woman’s breasts are perhaps her greatest symbol of motherhood, and who embodies motherhood more than the Virgin Mary? They are also innately arousing and sexual, but the very desire a man has for women comes from the natural urge to procreate and find a suitable mother for his children. However, breasts are so hidden from view that they naturally become solely sexual objects arousing a desire in men from the earliest stage of puberty. It is understandable that religious groups would be offended by this display, no matter how logically sex is liked to motherhood.

Why is sex is such a common element in movies? The obvious reason is that stories are generally about the most interesting events in life, and sex is usually a pretty interesting and momentous event. It also represents a link between characters, one that is much more visual than any written dialogue can be. The old screenwriter axiom of “show it, don’t say it” comes to mind.

Yet, despite all of this logical analysis, sex remains a difficult subject for our culture. Things are so out of balance that many people have psychological disorders relating to sex, and they can go in either direction. Some are too modest, while others too promiscuous. On one side we have your garden-variety child-molesters, rapists, and various other predators, and on the other we have the Jonas Brothers and assorted orthodox religious figures. The rest of us fall somewhere in the middle.

The general rule is that sex in movies is acceptable if implicit, and irresponsible if explicit. But where exactly would your own bedroom escapades fall within that delineation, and does the answer to that question mean there is something wrong with what you do?

200407955-001It is a time of economic turmoil. The markets are going berserk; reacting like the headless chickens we already knew them to be. Our nation faces numerous crises both domestically and overseas. And all the while, Hollywood is experimenting with a “new” trend to attract viewers, involving a pair of goggles that were only futuristic looking when Leave It To Beaver was considered edgy.

Remarkably, I took in my first 3D movie last weekend when I went to a late-morning showing of Coraline. 3D has been around my whole life in various other instances, but those glasses really haven’t changed much at all. Hey, it’s cool to be retro.

I recall getting those glasses with coloring books when I was very young. Even then I remember being very unimpressed. I always wondered if I was doing something wrong, sort of like those posters you have to squint at to see the poorly defined sailboat.

Flash forward to the beginning of February. 3D glasses we being given away in grocery stores for Dreamworks’ Super Bowl promotion of Monsters Vs. Aliens. I got my pair and headed down to a party thrown by a bunch of geeks who work for Dreamworks Animation. What better group of guys to be with to experience such a gimmick?

The second half ended and we all donned our dorky glasses and gazed into the screen. Ooh!  They started off with a paddleball flying into your eyeballs. The whole room reacted. Not a bad start. After this initial excitement, the air slowly seemed to be sucked from the room. The promo ended and the comments began. The general consensus was that it was unimpressive, and these were the guys who were actively involved in it. They all told me that the trailer didn’t use the technology as well as the feature will and that part of this was due to the cheap quality of the glasses. Then we heard another “Ooh!” as the TiVo in the other room finally caught up to the paddleball shot.

A few weeks later, I was sitting in the theater waiting for Coraline to start. The glasses were much fancier than the ones I had gotten from the grocery store, but these ones had the fingerprints of the previous viewers on them. I wondered if the experience would be any better than DreamWorks’ Super Bowl experiment. I looked around me to see the theater filling up with children and my hopes for a better experience were dashed. I like kids, but theaters filled with them never are enjoyable.

My other main concern for this new 3D push is that filmmakers will rely too much on the technology. This is a common problem any time new technologies are pushed. Remember how overused the rotating slow-mo camera of The Matrix became? The problem is that many films will likely use the 3D technology simply as a distraction. The paddleball flying out of the screen is cool and all, but somewhat shallow if it’s only done to impress the audience.